The Glory of the Mainstream

Chacapella is an all-girl singing group which bills itself as ‘the youngest a cappella group on the Fringe’. Aged 15-18, they are all students from Channing School in north London. However, this is no ordinary school group, since they are here independently, having simply got together at lunchtimes and after school to share their love of music. Formed by the inspirational and infectiously enthusiastic Lisa Karlim (who arranged most of their material), they have a deeply-held belief that mainstream music can be glorious and is always ripe for a mash-up.

Their presentation was a little uncertain and there was a fair number of fluffed handovers and improvised links between songs. The Fringe has become fertile ground for some of the world’s leading student a cappella groups and Chacapella are not up there with the best. Not yet at least. What they do produce is a confident hour of sheer, unfettered joyous music. They love what they’re doing and they belt out their tunes with a self-assurance that belies their years. What they lack in refinement, they more than make up for in ambition and volume. There are no passengers in this group and although there are a few pitchy top notes, there are also some stand-out performances. Emily Ooi impresses from the outset and her lead vocal with Katie Hind was a particular high point.

This was an enjoyable hour watching a group of young people give it their all. They would benefit from some advice from more experienced performers to help them with their vocal (and physical) choreography in the future. However, they get an extra star because of their backstory. These girls have come to Edinburgh with no adult supervision, they have done it all themselves (only to be made unexpectedly homeless upon arrival at their digs). Everything they do (including their ticket sales) is in aid of a charity set up in memory of a friend who died a couple of years ago. These girls may be untrained and learning their trade, but they were having a ball and their audience was too. Raising money for charity on the way, an hour spent in their company supporting them is time well spent.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

We are an all-girl a capella choir, with a varied repertoire from pop to show tunes. We will show you the true glory of the mainstream - that all songs can be sung simultaneously (ish).

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